A Dead Person Breathing

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of the best Christian singer-songwriters I have ever had the pleasure of hearing live – Andrew Peterson. His music rivals my other favorite, Rich Mullins, for its depth of meaning and beauty of language. Even the circumstances of this most recent concert were fun and cool at the same time. The concert was originally scheduled to be at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park. Then, because of weather, the venue changed to the sponsoring church. At Levitt Shell, there is plenty of space for people to bring their picnics and lawn chairs to listen to whomever is playing on stage. So, even though the concert moved into a ballroom looking fellowship hall, everyone still brought their blankets and picnics to watch Andrew Peterson. Danger Boy and I were front and center for the concert and laughed when Andrew Peterson said the this the strangest concert he had ever performed in his career.

This concert was also held on Easter Saturday. So he played all the songs he knew from his catalog that were Easter related. After a few, he said something that I’m still thinking on and marveling at the imagery. He said that on Friday they laid a dead body in the tomb and on Sunday morning ‘that dead body took a breath.’

That image had stuck with me ever since. I went to bed that night tossing around questions, like:

What did it feel like those two nights between Friday and Sunday? I know what happens when we, as humans, die. But how long was Jesus forsaken by God? Was he without his presence the whole weekend? Or was he in the presence of God immediately after death? I know creeds that say he was in hell. But was he really?

What did it feel like when it was time for him to go back into his earthly body, even if it was for only 40 days. Excitement? Dread? Relief?

When he did open his eyes, how long did he have to wait before the women showed up? Was he thinking of ways to reveal himself? Not in a practical joke or silly way, but in a way that would send them running back to the Apostles.

I know the details of his resurrection aren’t important, just something to stretch my mind, because they aren’t enumerated in the Bible. What matters is that he did come back to be the first-born of the dead and be the resurrection and the life for all who choose to believe.

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What Kind of Time Makes a Relationship

At my church I have the privilege of being a part of the worship team. So I get to help lead the church family in worshiping God almost every Sunday.  It’s an amazing opportunity every time I’m up there; and, it’s a topic I’ll be exploring as this blog goes along.

As part of the worship team I get to work with a remarkable worship leader, Dave. Dave came to Memphis in hopes of becoming a country music song writer. When I was first learning about him and his move to Tennessee from Indiana I he told me “I was going to move to Nashville but missed.” I am so glad he did. Dave is nothing short of amazing – not just in his ability to compose and lead a worship service – he is truly is a man after God’s own heart.

Dave and I have sung together for 15 years. In that time we have built a professional relationship to where I have learned to follow his lead on songs – where to stop, when to get soft, when to build – both old and new. I do my best to pay precise attention even now to know where he wants to music to go. And it’s become almost second nature to ‘feel’ where he wants things to sounds prayerful or joyful or majestic. I don’t just go off on my own and sing whatever feels right, because it won’t sound right and I am in a team of 3-4 others. We get to be a window and not a painting and encourage others to worship God. I owe all that to not just spending weeks and months with Dave singing, but studying how he treats this type of song or that type of worship situation.

So it is with our relationship with God. If you just spend time in the seats, then bolt out the door and do whatever you want your life just isn’t going to work. (Rom 12:2) You have to take the time to learn about what you have signed up for as a Christian (Luke 14:25-30), take the time to earn about God and the reason he came (John 15:14-16, John 3:16-17, 1 John 3:7-9)

And relationships like this take time. You can’t just read a passage or two of your Bible a couple of time and have that work. I don’t have a reference for this one, just personal experience. It takes quality time just like any other relationship worth having. And God is a jealous God (1 Cor 11:2). So imagine being infatuated with someone, claiming you want to get to know them and just talking to them when it’s convenient for you, or when you’re in trouble, or when someone shames you into it. How would that make them feel? Especially when that person loves you intensely and gets jealous when they know you are throwing your attention to things that they know aren’t good for you. God knows that the things of the world aren’t good for us, they are even set up to kill us. (Gal 5:16-18, Rom 8:12-14) It would insane.

All I ask is that those who believe, and if you’ve gotten this far you probably do, take a minute to see what God needs you to move so your time with him can improve in quantity and quality. If, by some chance, you don’t believer and you’ve made it this far do me a favor and look up the passages I’ve given and see if they make sense to you.